How many deaths can the University of California at Santa Cruz ignore?

Much has been written about Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring and the claims Carson made about the dangers of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, known as DDT, which led to various prohibitions on its use, despite its effectiveness at killing mosquitoes that carry malaria.  A search for "Rachel Carson" or "DDT" at the website of the Competitive Enterprise Institute yields many articles critical of Carson, as does a separate CEI website.  In his article published on September 27, 2012 in The New Atlantis, titled "The Truth About DDT and Silent Spring," Robert Zubrin makes a convincing case that Carson's claims about DDT were false.  Even a Bill Moyers Journal episode on the Public Broadcasting System in September 2007 titled "Rachel Carson and DDT" stated:

Still, even Carson supporters agree that certain assertions she made regarding the dangerous effects of DDT, did not stand the test of time, particularly her assertion that the insecticide was a carcinogen. "Repeated studies have found no evidence that DDT exposure increases the risk of Cancer," writes [Kirsten] Weir in SALON.

On February 3, 2017, The Daily Beast published an article by Professor Paul A. Offit, M.D., titled "How Rachel Carson Cost Millions of People Their Lives."  Offit accused Carson of mistakenly writing in Silent Spring that DDT caused children to suffer sudden death, aplastic anemia, birth defects, liver disease, chromosomal abnormalities, and leukemia, and women to suffer infertility and uterine cancer.  According to Offit, studies in Europe, Canada, and the United States have since shown that DDT didn't cause these ailments in humans.  Offit explained that DDT was effective in fighting malaria, which has killed more people than any other infection.  Offit wrote that by 1960, largely because of DDT, malaria had been eliminated from eleven countries, including the United States.  But since the mid-1970s, when use of DDT was eliminated, tens of millions of people have died from malaria unnecessarily, most of whom have been children less than five years old. 

There is reason to wonder whether such criticisms of Carson are taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  UCSC announced in September 2016:

College Eight at UC Santa Cruz was born embracing environmentalism. Today, it's getting a name befitting that passion: Rachel Carson College.

Rachel Carson, writer and conservationist, is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, dramatically chronicled the damage caused by indiscriminate application of chemicals in an attempt to control pests. Her larger theme: humans are a part of nature—not its masters.

The naming gift from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation recognizes Carson for her courage and pivotal role in awakening the public to environmental issues.

It establishes an endowment to ensure the college can provide research and educational opportunities for students in perpetuity and establishes a chair in ecology and environmental justice. Concurrently, citing the impact of Carson's writings, a chair in science communication is also being created. The gift package totals $7 million.

"We could not think of anyone who would better embody the core values of UC Santa Cruz than this environmental pioneer," Alec and Claudia Webster wrote in a letter to Chancellor George Blumenthal on their proposal to recognize Rachel Carson. "Rachel Carson challenged authority, risked everything, and changed the world for the better. In doing so, she provided a model that students need and deserve, and that we, as a society, require."

University of California President Janet Napolitano is among those who share the sentiment. "It is wonderful to see Rachel Carson honored in this way. She exemplifies so much of what is right in life. She has long been one of my personal heroes: a champion for the environment, a woman excelling in science, a person of dignity."

The announcement does not state anything about reduced use of DDT causing deaths from malaria.

If you would like to have a discussion with UCSC faculty members about the evidence and arguments made by people such as Zubrin and Offit, or about what UCSC faculty are teaching their students about Carson and DDT, your opportunity is near.  On March 30, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., UCSC will hold a public event titled "A Rich Tradition of Non-traditional Thinking: The Legacy of Rachel Carson."  UCSC describes the event as "compelling faculty talks illustrating the legacy of Rachel Carson, leader of the environmental movement."  The event will be held at Annenberg Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, California 90402. Admission is $15 per person, and "[e]veryone" is invited.

Despite the evidence that Carson was at least negligent in describing the effects of DDT, and bears partial responsibility for millions of black African deaths from malaria, I do not expect any demonstration at the event by members of Black Lives Matter.

Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles.  His website is allanfavish.com.  James Fernald and Mr. Favish have co-authored a book about what might happen if the government ran Disneyland, entitled Fireworks! If the Government Ran the Fairest Kingdom of Them All (A Very Unauthorized Fantasy).

Much has been written about Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring and the claims Carson made about the dangers of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, known as DDT, which led to various prohibitions on its use, despite its effectiveness at killing mosquitoes that carry malaria.  A search for "Rachel Carson" or "DDT" at the website of the Competitive Enterprise Institute yields many articles critical of Carson, as does a separate CEI website.  In his article published on September 27, 2012 in The New Atlantis, titled "The Truth About DDT and Silent Spring," Robert Zubrin makes a convincing case that Carson's claims about DDT were false.  Even a Bill Moyers Journal episode on the Public Broadcasting System in September 2007 titled "Rachel Carson and DDT" stated:

Still, even Carson supporters agree that certain assertions she made regarding the dangerous effects of DDT, did not stand the test of time, particularly her assertion that the insecticide was a carcinogen. "Repeated studies have found no evidence that DDT exposure increases the risk of Cancer," writes [Kirsten] Weir in SALON.

On February 3, 2017, The Daily Beast published an article by Professor Paul A. Offit, M.D., titled "How Rachel Carson Cost Millions of People Their Lives."  Offit accused Carson of mistakenly writing in Silent Spring that DDT caused children to suffer sudden death, aplastic anemia, birth defects, liver disease, chromosomal abnormalities, and leukemia, and women to suffer infertility and uterine cancer.  According to Offit, studies in Europe, Canada, and the United States have since shown that DDT didn't cause these ailments in humans.  Offit explained that DDT was effective in fighting malaria, which has killed more people than any other infection.  Offit wrote that by 1960, largely because of DDT, malaria had been eliminated from eleven countries, including the United States.  But since the mid-1970s, when use of DDT was eliminated, tens of millions of people have died from malaria unnecessarily, most of whom have been children less than five years old. 

There is reason to wonder whether such criticisms of Carson are taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  UCSC announced in September 2016:

College Eight at UC Santa Cruz was born embracing environmentalism. Today, it's getting a name befitting that passion: Rachel Carson College.

Rachel Carson, writer and conservationist, is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, dramatically chronicled the damage caused by indiscriminate application of chemicals in an attempt to control pests. Her larger theme: humans are a part of nature—not its masters.

The naming gift from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation recognizes Carson for her courage and pivotal role in awakening the public to environmental issues.

It establishes an endowment to ensure the college can provide research and educational opportunities for students in perpetuity and establishes a chair in ecology and environmental justice. Concurrently, citing the impact of Carson's writings, a chair in science communication is also being created. The gift package totals $7 million.

"We could not think of anyone who would better embody the core values of UC Santa Cruz than this environmental pioneer," Alec and Claudia Webster wrote in a letter to Chancellor George Blumenthal on their proposal to recognize Rachel Carson. "Rachel Carson challenged authority, risked everything, and changed the world for the better. In doing so, she provided a model that students need and deserve, and that we, as a society, require."

University of California President Janet Napolitano is among those who share the sentiment. "It is wonderful to see Rachel Carson honored in this way. She exemplifies so much of what is right in life. She has long been one of my personal heroes: a champion for the environment, a woman excelling in science, a person of dignity."

The announcement does not state anything about reduced use of DDT causing deaths from malaria.

If you would like to have a discussion with UCSC faculty members about the evidence and arguments made by people such as Zubrin and Offit, or about what UCSC faculty are teaching their students about Carson and DDT, your opportunity is near.  On March 30, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., UCSC will hold a public event titled "A Rich Tradition of Non-traditional Thinking: The Legacy of Rachel Carson."  UCSC describes the event as "compelling faculty talks illustrating the legacy of Rachel Carson, leader of the environmental movement."  The event will be held at Annenberg Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, California 90402. Admission is $15 per person, and "[e]veryone" is invited.

Despite the evidence that Carson was at least negligent in describing the effects of DDT, and bears partial responsibility for millions of black African deaths from malaria, I do not expect any demonstration at the event by members of Black Lives Matter.

Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles.  His website is allanfavish.com.  James Fernald and Mr. Favish have co-authored a book about what might happen if the government ran Disneyland, entitled Fireworks! If the Government Ran the Fairest Kingdom of Them All (A Very Unauthorized Fantasy).

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